Bethany Hays, MD, FACOG, though now retired from clinical service, is a former board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist who trained as a perinatologist and practiced obstetrics for 29 years, delivering her first baby in 1972 as a medical student at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. She delivered her last baby in 2001, when she decided to put all her energy into “midwifing” the creation of a holistic health center in Falmouth, Maine. For 14 years, Dr. Hays was the medical director of True North, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to change health care in America, starting in southern Maine. Using the “Circle Process” described by Christina Baldwin and modified by those working at True North, True North created an integrative practice combining the modalities of physicians and various other healing practitioners. In 2016, True North closed its doors to patient care, but Dr. Hays continued to compile the wisdom gleaned from this attempt to heal the healthcare system. She found her way to The Institute for Functional Medicine in 1999, has been teaching for IFM since 2000, and previously served on the Board of Directors. She has been affiliated with Baylor College of Medicine, University of Vermont Medical School, University of New England, and Dartmouth Medical School and is currently affiliated with Tufts Medical School. Teaching has always been a part of her work. She has been described as an “earth-mother,” “fire-brand,” “innovator,” “trailblazer,” and “trouble-maker” (along with a few less gracious monikers).
Bethany is the mother of three brilliant and very different sons, two beautiful, loving, and talented daughters-in-law, and two amazing grandsons. She has been a folk singer, pilot, scuba diver, archer, music producer, jewelry designer, dried flower arranger, and knitter and is addicted to jigsaw puzzles and adult coloring books. She was married to Ray Hays for 17 years and has been happily un-married with him for another 15, allowing her to be a member of a large and blended (more like Vitamixed family) and to collect more social security than she would have been able to on the money she made as a physician making choices out of passion and not income.
Dr. Hays says, “In a way, I learned everything I needed to know in the birthing room. If you stay with women during labor, like midwives do, you learn the wisdom of the body to solve problems, you learn to take things in small aliquots (one contraction at a time), you learn not to anticipate but to be prepared for everything. You learn about the division of labor between men and women and why we are so different and why both are needed in a creative endeavor. You learn to stay in the present and expect miracles and magic.”